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Conceptualizing and Measuring Safe and Supportive Schools


This paper describes how a partnership between a large, urban school district and researchers resulted in a process to measure school climate and support schools and the district in school safety efforts. The partnership utilized a comprehensive framework of safe and supportive schools, where constructs such as physical safety and security were included along with connectedness of staff and students, emotional safety, physical environment, engagement, and norms and policies. Researchers then developed a process for measuring these constructs using existing, school-level data collected by the state and the district and communicating the results to district and school staff. This paper aims to describe the method of identifying and utilizing school-level data, our development of a standardized measurement model, and our processes to communicate and consult with the district and schools on using a data-driven process to improve school safety.

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This study was supported by Award Number 2015-CK-BX-K001, granted by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

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Correspondence to Jenna Howard Terrell.

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Terrell, J.H., Henrich, C.C., Nabors, A. et al. Conceptualizing and Measuring Safe and Supportive Schools. Contemp School Psychol 24, 327–336 (2020).

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